The Milwaukee Bucks took on the Sacramento Kings Saturday in the second night of a back-to-back for both teams. However, the second night would look much different than the first for Milwaukee. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Saturday’s game with left knee soreness after scoring 47 points in a dominant performance against the Portland Trailblazers the night before. Without a doubt, his absence provided a challenge for the Bucks as they faced Sacramento’s hot offense.
Both teams got off to a fast start, but Milwaukee grabbed the early advantage with a 19-14 lead midway through the first. A 6 to 0 nothing run quickly turned things around and gave the Kings their first lead. After going back and forth for the remainder of the period, Milwaukee regained the lead for a 3-point edge heading into the second quarter.
The Kings’ Terrence Davis II sent a message to start the second period, getting a monster block before knocking down a triple to tie things back up. Davis cashed in 3 threes on his way to 11 first-half points. He ended the game with a career-high 7 threes. Buddy Hield also came alive for the kings in the second, hitting a pair of threes and showing his playmaking ability. Nonetheless, Milwaukee stayed afloat largely due to stellar play from Jrue Holiday and Brooke Lopez. Holiday ended the half with 21 points, while Lopez added 15. Milwaukee took a 61-57 lead into the half.
Game of runs
The short-handed Bucks extended their lead to 9 in the third quarter. However, the Kings lived up to the game’s theme by tying it back up at 81. Naturally, Milwaukee immediately went on a 12 to 2 run to get right back in the driver’s seat. At the quarter’s conclusion, Milwaukee led the Kings, 99-91.
In the final 12 minutes of action, a dogfight ensued, with the Kings slowly chipping away at Milwaukee’s lead. Although the Bucks saw their biggest lead of the night midway through the fourth, the Kings fought to give themselves a puncher’s chance. An 11 to 0 run capped by an emphatic put-back dunk from Hield brought them to within 2 points with just under 3 minutes to play. After a wire-to-wire battle, the Kings came up just short of getting over the hump.
Milwaukee (32-17) went on to take the victory over the Kings (22-28), 129-128.
Holiday led the Bucks with a monster performance, dropping a season-high 33 points with 11 assists and 7 boards. Lopez finished 26 points, while Bobby Portis and Kris Middleton chipped in 18 and 16 points, respectively.
“[Holiday] did a lot of things for us,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We kind of needed every bit he gave us. I think he used up the whole tank tonight. We kind of got a little shaky down the stretch but he bailed us out and was relentless. He wasn’t going to let us lose.”
Davis and De’Aaron Fox each dropped 27 points for the Kings, with Fox also adding 6 dimes. Hield finished with 19 points in a quality shooting effort.
Milwaukee will lace up again Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors at 7:00 p.m. PST.